March 28, 2016


Harmony Dawn practicing her rail dips. | Photo: Dan Gavere /


OTTAWA, Canada – Stand up paddling is exercise in disguise. Whether you’re surfing, downwinding, paddling whitewater, racing or just out for a cruise, you will burn calories with this full body work out. The natural instability of a SUP board is enough of a challenge for many. For those seeking to add more to their fitness routine, endless options exist.

Keeping things interesting and entertaining gets me excited and I like to pass that on to the people I teach. Why bring your boring old push ups, squats and planks from the gym onto the floating mat when you can create fun and functional full body workouts on the water? Below I suggest exercise supplements you could add to your time on the water. You can practice them on a lake, in between rapids, or in fairly calm water in the ocean.

Here are a few of my favorites:



With your feet positioned hip width distance apart at the center of your board, bend your knees and come up and down into a squat. Once you have reached a comfortable position, put your paddle out in front of your chest, begin leaning your weight onto one leg and then the other. The harder and faster you go, the more waves you’ll make! Want more? Come up into a standing position and back down into a squat position while simultaneously dipping the rails.

Targets: Glutes, legs, core



Bring your feet about hip width apart at the center of your board. Look forward and begin lifting your heals off the board. The faster you go, the easier it is, the slower you go, the greater the challenge. For added balance if needed, place your paddle on the board in front of your feet and use it for support.

Targets: Calf muscles, core stability


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(L) Calf Raises / (R) SUP Jumps | Photos: Dan Gavere /



Just like with calf raises, bring your feet to the center of the board, about hip width apart, and look forward. Hold your paddle straight out in front of you, breath, and jump straight up in the air. Trust that you will come back down to the spot you took off from. The board will wobble as you find your stability back. Climb back on board if necessary, then repeat! Once you are confident with your up and down jumps, begin turning until you eventually turn 360 degree to your starting point.

Targets: Legs, core stability, fast twitch muscles



Bring your feet into the middle of the board, so that your legs are close together. On your next paddle stroke slowly lift one leg up. Continue paddling for 100 meters alternating strokes on both sides. Once you’ve reached your mark, do the same thing with your opposite foot raised.

Targets: Core, quadriceps, abductors, glutes



Get ready to get wet! Hop off your board on the side of your choice. Place your hands by the handle of the board (the center) and use your arms to lift yourself up on the board. Get back in the water on the other side and repeat. Bonus: Once you get on the board to a push up before you get off again.

Targets: Arms



In and out, on and off. | Photo: Dan Gavere /



That’s up to you! Some people like to do a set of each, continue on their paddle, and then repeat. Others prefer to just do a full workout at some point during their paddle. Whenever you choose, make sure you warm up, cool down and stretch each time you work out.


Additional Tips:

  • You don’t need a fitness/yoga board to do a workout on the water- use whatever board makes you happy.
  • The narrower the board the more challenging it will be; the wider the board the more stable it will be.
  • Let go of the fear of falling in the water, it’s bound to happen if you’re pushing yourself to your limit.
  • Smile and have fun!




WeSUP is born by the group of Thai SUP enthusiasts, who are deeply enthralled by stand-up paddling or SUP. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is the fastest growing sport across the world. We want to push on it and aim to be the leading SUP Sport guide in Thailand.

Not only SUP is fun and perfect for your entire family, but SUP also has huge benefit for you. SUP opens up a whole new world of exploration, fitness and adrenaline. It's a great way to get fit, developing core strength, cardio fitness, flexibility, balance and allows you to choose your own path to better health. Unlike surfing, you don't need waves to paddleboard, you can go paddling on any open water, an ocean, lake, and even a river. If you never try SUP, Let's start!